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Publication numberUS6837958 B2
Publication typeGrant
Application numberUS 10/447,277
Publication dateJan 4, 2005
Filing dateMay 29, 2003
Priority dateMay 30, 2002
Fee statusPaid
Also published asDE60312922D1, DE60312922T2, EP1366734A1, EP1366734B1, US20040108054
Publication number10447277, 447277, US 6837958 B2, US 6837958B2, US-B2-6837958, US6837958 B2, US6837958B2
InventorsToshifumi Otsubo, Hiroki Yamamoto
Original AssigneeUni-Charm Corporation
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Process for placement of indicator elements
US 6837958 B2
Abstract
A process for placement of indicator elements in a disposable wearing article includes a step in which indication sheets each having a pair of indicator elements are placed on an outer web, a step in which the indication sheets are joined to the outer web, a step in which an inner web is placed upon and joined to the outer web to form a composite web, a step in which the composite web is divided into first and second composite webs and thereby the paired indicator elements are divided into the individual indicator elements, a step in which the first and second composite webs are separated from each other, a step in which a liquid-absorbent laminated panel is joined to respective upper surfaces of the first and second composite webs and a step in which the first and second composite webs and the panel are cut together to obtain individual articles.
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Claims(8)
1. A process of placement of indicator elements in a disposable wearing article, which comprises a composite web and a liquid-absorbent panel joined to said composite web and includes front and rear waist regions and a crotch region between said waist regions, so that said indicator elements are visually recognizable from an exterior of said article, said process comprising the steps of:
placing indication sheets each having a pair of indicator elements arranged side by side in a cross direction onto one of an upper surface of a continuous outer web and an under surface of a continuous inner web running in a machine direction so that said indication sheets are spaced apart one from another in said machine direction;
joining said indication sheets to one of said outer web and said inner web with said indicator elements positioned on both sides of an imaginary line extending in said machine direction and bisecting said outer and inner webs along said imaginary line;
joining said outer and inner webs placed upon each other to obtain said composite web;
cutting said composite web and said indication sheets along said imaginary line to obtain first and second composite webs;
separating said first and second composite webs in said cross direction;
feeding liquid-absorbent panels onto said first and second composite webs so that said panels are spaced apart one from another in said machine direction;
joining each of said panels to both said first and second composite webs so as to overlay one of said indication sheets on each of the first and second composite webs with said inner web between said panel and said indication sheets; and
cutting said first and second composite webs between adjacent said panels.
2. The process according to claim 1, further comprising
securing first stretchable elastic members in a stretched state to one of the upper surface of said outer web and under surface of said inner web so as to extend continuously in said machine direction on both sides of said indication sheets; and
securing second stretchable elastic members in a stretched state to one of said upper surface of said outer web and said under surface of said inner web so as to extend in said cross direction between adjacent said indication sheets.
3. The process according to claim 1, further comprising
feeding intermediate sheets onto said first and second composite webs so that said intermediate sheets are spaced apart one from another in said machine direction; and
joining said first and second composite webs and said panels to said intermediate sheets.
4. The process according to claim 3, wherein said outer web and said inner web are formed by a breathable hydrophobic fibrous nonwoven fabric, and each of said intermediate sheets is formed by a breathable liquid-impervious plastic film and a breathable hydrophobic fibrous nonwoven fabric placed upon each other.
5. The process according to claim 1, wherein said panel comprises a breathable hydrophilic fibrous nonwoven fabric and a liquid-absorbent core underlying said fibrous nonwoven fabric.
6. The process according to claim 1, wherein said indication sheets are formed by one of a breathable hydrophobic fibrous nonwoven fabric and a breathable liquid-impervious plastic film.
7. The process according to claim 1, wherein said indicator elements comprise an illustration printed on said indication sheets.
8. The process according to claim 1, wherein the indicator elements, which are printed on each of said indicator sheets, are mirror images of each other.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to a process for placing, on respective surfaces of front and rear waist regions of a disposable wearing article both facing away from a wearer's body, a pair of indicator elements being visually recognizable from the exterior, respectively.

Japanese Patent Application No. 2001-54536A discloses a pull on-type disposable diaper including a patterned sheet and a process for making the same. This diaper comprises a liquid-pervious inner sheet lying on the side facing the wearer's body, a liquid-impervious outer sheet lying on the side facing away from the wearer's body and a liquid-absorbent core interposed between these sheets. This diaper has a front waist region, a rear waist region, a crotch region extending between these waist regions, a waist-opening and a pair of leg-openings. The patterned sheet being visually recognizable from the exterior of the diaper is attached to an inner surface of the outer sheet.

The process for making this diaper comprises the steps of joining the patterned sheet being smaller than the outer sheet to the inner surface of the outer sheet at a predetermined location, a step of joining the core to the inner surface of the outer sheet and joining the inner sheet onto the upper surface of the core. The process for making this diaper further comprises the steps of feeding, a plurality of the patterned sheets successively onto the inner surface of the outer sheet so as to be spaced one from another by a given dimension in the longitudinal direction of the outer sheet and joining the patterned sheets to the outer sheet by means of a hot melt adhesive.

According to the process for making the diaper as disclosed in the above-cited Publication, a plurality of the patterned sheets must be individually fed and joined to the inner surface of the outer sheet in each of the front and rear waist regions. Feeding and joining of the patterned sheets inevitably doubles time and labor and require additional devices as well as additional steps. Consequently, a manufacturing cost for the diaper correspondingly increases.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of this invention to provide a process for placing indicator elements at once on surfaces of front and rear waist regions facing away from the wearer's body, respectively, of a disposable wearing article and thereby to save time and labor for formation of the indicator elements.

According to this invention, there is provided a process for placement of a pair of indicator elements in a disposable wearing article which comprises a composite web and a liquid-absorbent panel joined to the composite web and is composed of front and rear waist regions and a crotch region between the waist regions wherein the indicator elements are visually recognizable from an exterior of the article.

The process has a machine direction (MD) and a cross direction (CD) crossing the MD and comprises:

    • a first step in which indication sheets each having the pair of indicator elements arranged side by side in the CD are successively fed onto one of an upper surface of a continuous outer web and an under surface of a continuous inner web running in the MD so that the indication sheets are spaced apart one from another in the MD;
    • a second step in which the indication sheets are joined to one of the outer web and the inner web with the pair of indicator elements positioned on both sides of an imaginary line extending in the MD and bisecting the outer and inner webs along the imaginary line;
    • a third step in which the outer and inner webs are placed upon and joined to each other to obtain the composite web with the indication sheets interposed between the outer and inner webs;
    • a fourth step in which the composite web is cut together with the indication sheets along the imaginary line to obtain first and second composite webs;
    • a fifth step in which the first and second composite webs are separated from each other in the CD;
    • a sixth step in which the liquid-absorbent panels are successively fed onto the inner web of the composite web so that the panels are spaced apart one from another in the MD and the panels are joined to the inner web of the composite web so as to overlay the indication sheets with the inner web interposed between the panels and the indication sheets; and
    • a seventh step in which the first and second composite webs are cut between the panels adjacent to each other.

This invention includes the following embodiments.

The second step includes a step in which first stretchable elastic members are secured in a stretched state to one of an upper surface of the outer web and an under surface of the inner web so as to extend continuously in the MD on both sides of the indication sheets while second stretchable elastic members are secured in a stretched state to one of the upper surface of the outer web and the under surface of the inner web so as to extend in the CD between the indication sheets adjacent to each other.

One of the fifth step and the sixth step includes a step in which intermediate sheets are successively fed onto the first and second composite webs so that the intermediate sheets are spaced apart one from another and interposed between the indication sheets adjacent to each other in the MD and a step in which the first and second composite webs are joined to the intermediate sheet and the sixth step includes a step in which the panel is joined to the intermediate sheet.

The outer web and the inner web are formed by a breathable hydrophobic fibrous nonwoven fabric and the composite sheet is formed by a breathable liquid-impervious plastic film and a breathable hydrophobic fibrous nonwoven fabric placed upon each other.

The panel comprises a breathable hydrophilic fibrous nonwoven fabric and a liquid-absorbent core underlying the fibrous nonwoven fabric.

The indication sheets are formed by one of a breathable hydrophobic fibrous nonwoven fabric and a breathable liquid-impervious plastic film.

The indicator elements comprise an illustration printed on the indication sheets.

The indication sheets have the pair of indicator elements printed thereon in a relationship of mirror image.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view showing an embodiment of the article adopting the process according to this invention;

FIG. 2 is a partially cutaway perspective view showing the article of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view schematically illustrating an embodiment of the process for placing an indicator element;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view schematically illustrating the steps subsequent to the steps in the process illustrated in FIG. 3.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view schematically illustrating the steps subsequent to the steps in the process illustrated in FIG. 4;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view showing another embodiment of the article adopting the process according to this invention;

FIG. 7 is a partially cutaway perspective view showing the embodiment of the article of FIG. 6;

FIG. 8 is a perspective view schematically illustrating another embodiment of the process for placing the indicator element;

FIG. 9 is a perspective view schematically illustrating the steps subsequent to the steps in the process illustrated in FIG. 8; and

FIG. 10 is a perspective view schematically illustrating the steps subsequent to the steps in the process illustrated in FIG. 9.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Details of the process according to this invention for placing an indicator element will be more fully understood from the description given hereunder in reference with the accompanying drawings.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view showing an embodiment 1A of the article adopting the process according to this invention for placing the indicator element and FIG. 2 is a partially cutaway perspective view showing the article 1A of FIG. 1. In FIGS. 1 and 2, a waist-circumferential direction is indicated by an arrow X, a longitudinal direction is indicated by an arrow Y and a leg-circumferential direction is indicated by an arrow Z (only in FIG. 1). Expression “inner surfaces” of first and second fibrous nonwoven fabric layers m1, m2 (outer web, inner web) constituting a composite nonwoven fabric layer 2 (composite web) and a fibrous nonwoven fabric layer m4 and a film m5 constituting a panel 3 should be understood to be surfaces facing a core m6 and expression “outer surfaces” thereof should be understood to be surfaces facing away from the core m6 (See FIG. 2).

The article 1A comprises a substantially liquid-impervious composite nonwoven fabric layer 2 (i.e., composite web) lying on the side facing away from the wearer's body and a liquid-absorbent laminated panel 3 joined to an inner surface of the composite nonwoven fabric layer 2. The article 1A is composed of front and rear waist regions 4, 6 opposed to each other and a crotch region 5 extending between these waist regions 4, 6.

The article 1A has a pair of end flaps 7 extending in a waist-circumferential direction and a pair of side flaps 8 extending in a longitudinal direction as well as in the leg-circumferential direction. In the crotch region 5, the side flaps 8 curve inward in the waist-circumferential direction of the article 1A so as to describe circular arcs. The article 1A presents a substantially hourglass-like planar shape as the article 1A is developed.

In the article 1A, the side flaps 8 are overlaid and joined together in the front and rear waist regions 4, 6 by means of a plurality of welding lines 9 arranged intermittently in the longitudinal direction. The article 1A is of pull on-type having a waist-opening 10 and a pair of leg-openings 11.

A plurality of first stretchable elastic members 14 (i.e., waist elastic members) extending in the waist-circumferential direction are contractibly secured to the end flaps 7. A plurality of second stretchable elastic members 15 (i.e., leg elastic members) and a plurality of third stretchable elastic members 16 (i.e., leg elastic members) both extending in the leg-circumferential direction are contractibly attached to the side flaps 8.

The front and rear waist regions 4, 6 are provided in respective middle zones thereof as viewed in the waist-circumferential direction with halves of an indication sheet 12 each having an indicator element 13 adapted to be visually recognized from the exterior. The indicator element 13 comprises an illustration of a bear's face printed on the indication sheet 12. The indicator element 13 is not limited to the illustration but may be in the form of patterns, letters or figures.

The composite nonwoven fabric layer 2 comprises a breathable hydrophobic first fibrous nonwoven fabric layer m1 (i.e., outer web) and a breathable hydrophobic second fibrous nonwoven fabric layer m2 (i.e., inner web) lying on an inner surface of the nonwoven fabric layer m1. The composite nonwoven fabric layer 2 defines the front and rear waist regions 4, 6 and a part of the crotch region 5.

The indication sheet 12 is formed by a breathable and liquid-impervious plastic film m3. It is also possible to use a breathable hydrophobic fibrous nonwoven fabric layer to form the indication sheet 12.

An inner surface of first fibrous nonwoven fabric layer m1 and an outer surface of the second fibrous nonwoven fabric layer m2 are joined together by means of a hot melt adhesive (not shown). The adhesive is applied intermittently on the first fibrous nonwoven fabric layer m1 over its whole inner surface.

The indication sheet 12 and the first and second stretchable elastic members 14, 15 are interposed between the first fibrous nonwoven fabric layer m1 and the second fibrous nonwoven fabric layer m2 and joined to the inner surface of the nonwoven fabric layer m1. The indication sheet 12 is thus not joined to the second fibrous nonwoven fabric layer m2.

In addition to the whole inner surface of the first fibrous nonwoven fabric layer m1, the outer surface of the second fibrous nonwoven fabric layer m2 also may be coated with the adhesive. In this case, the indication sheet 12 will be joined to the inner surface of the first fibrous nonwoven fabric layer m1 as well as to the outer surface of the second fibrous nonwoven fabric layer m2.

The panel 3 presents an hourglass-like planar shape and extends over the crotch region 5 into the front and rear waist regions 4, 6. The panel 3 comprises a breathable hydrophilic fibrous nonwoven fabric layer m4 lying on the side facing the wearer's body, a breathable liquid-impervious plastic film m5 lying on the side facing away from the wearer's body and a liquid-absorbent core m6 interposed between the nonwoven fabric layer m4 and the film m5. In the panel 3, the film m5 has its outer surface joined to an inner surface of the second fibrous nonwoven fabric layer m2 by means of the hot melt adhesive (not shown). The adhesive is intermittently applied on a part of the outer surface of the film m5.

The nonwoven fabric layer m4 is slightly larger than an upper surface of the core m6 and completely covers the upper surface of the core m6. The film m5 is slightly larger than an under surface of the core 6 and completely covers the under surface of the core m6. The nonwoven fabric layer m4 and the film m5 respectively have longitudinally opposite margins 19, 21 extending outward beyond longitudinally opposite ends 17 of the core m6 and transversely opposite lateral margins 20, 22 extending outward beyond transversely opposite side edges 18 of the core m6.

The nonwoven fabric layer m4 has its inner surface joined to the upper surface of the core m6 by means of the hot melt adhesive (not shown). The film m5 has its inner surface joined to the under surface of the core m6 by means of the hot melt adhesive (not shown). The adhesive is intermittently applied on the nonwoven fabric layer m4 over its whole inner surface as well as on the film m5 over its whole both surfaces.

The nonwoven fabric layer m4 and the film m5 are joined together along the respective longitudinally opposite margins 19, 21 and along the respective transversely opposite lateral margins 20, 22. The third stretchable elastic members 16 are interposed between the nonwoven fabric layer m4 and the film m5 and secured to the transversely opposite lateral margins 20, 22 of these nonwoven fabric layer m4 and film m5.

The core m6 comprises a mixture of fluff pulp and super-absorbent polymer particles or a mixture of fluff pulp, super-absorbent polymer particles and thermoplastic synthetic resin fibers, in any case, compressed to a desired thickness. Preferably, the core m6 is entirely wrapped with a liquid-pervious sheet such as a tissue paper or a hydrophilic fibrous nonwoven fabric layer in order to prevent the core m6 from getting out of its initial shape and/or to prevent the polymer particles from falling off from the core m6.

The end flaps 7 are defined by portions of the nonwoven fabric layers m1, m2, m4 and the film m5 extending outward beyond the longitudinally opposite ends 17 of the core m6. The side flaps 8 are defined by portions of the nonwoven fabric layers m1, m2, m4 and the film m5 extending outward in the waist-circumferential direction beyond the transversely opposite side edges 18 of the core m6.

The pattern in which the adhesive is applied on the first and second fibrous nonwoven fabric layers m1, m2, the fibrous nonwoven fabric layer m4 and the film m5 is preferably selected from the group consisting of spiral-, zigzag-, dot- and stripe-patterns. Application of the adhesive in such patterns defines the adhesive-coated zones and the adhesive-free zones in the first and second fibrous nonwoven fabric layers m1, m2, the fibrous nonwoven fabric layer m4 and the film m5.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view schematically illustrating an embodiment of the process for placement of the indicator elements, FIG. 4 is a perspective view schematically illustrating the steps subsequent to the steps in the process illustrated in FIG. 3 and FIG. 5 is a perspective view schematically illustrating the steps subsequent to the steps in the process illustrated in FIG. 4. Referring to these Figures, a machine direction (MD) is indicated by an arrow X and a cross direction (CD) is indicated by an arrow Y. According to this process, the article 1A of FIG. 1 is made and the indicator element 13 is formed in the front and rear waist regions 4, 6 of the article 1A through successive steps as will be described.

Step S1: In this step S1, a plurality of the indication sheets 12 each having a pair of the indicator elements 13 are successively fed onto an upper surface (i.e., inner surface) of an outer web 30 continuously running in the MD. The outer web 30 is running at a constant speed in the MD indicated by an arrow X1. The indication sheets 12 are placed on the upper surface of the outer web 30 so as to be spaced one from another by a predetermined dimension in the MD.

Each of the indication sheets 12 is in form of a rectangle having long sides extending in the CD and contoured by transversely opposite ends 31 extending in the MD and longitudinal opposite side edges 32 extending in the CD. A transverse dimension of the indication sheet 12 is smaller than that of the outer web 30, so the ends 31 thereof lie inside the side edges 33 of the outer web 30. The indicator elements 13 are a pair of illustrated bear's faces arranged side by side. These illustrated bear's faces are printed on the indication sheet 12 in a mirror image relationship with each other.

The outer web 30 is formed by the breathable hydrophobic fibrous nonwoven fabric layer m1 (i.e., the first fibrous nonwoven fabric layer). The indication sheet 12 is formed by the breathable and liquid-impervious plastic film m3.

Step S2: In the step S2, the indication sheet 12 is joined to the upper surface of the outer web 30 with the individual indicator elements 13 placed on both sides of an imaginary line L extending in MD and bisecting the outer web 30. The indication sheet 12 is joined to the outer web 30 by means of the hot melt adhesive (not shown) intermittently applied on the outer web 30 over its whole upper surface.

In this step S2, a plurality of the first stretchable elastic members 14 (waist elastic members) continuously extending in the MD are secured in a stretched state to the upper surface of the outer web 30 along its transversely opposite lateral margins 33 while a plurality of the second stretchable elastic members 15 (leg elastic members) extending in the CD are secured in a stretched state to the upper surface of the outer web 30 (step S8).

The first stretchable elastic members 14 extend outside the respective lateral margins 31 of the indication sheet 12. The second stretchable elastic members 15 extend outside the transversely opposite side edges 32 of the indication sheet 12. These first and second stretchable elastic members 14, 15 are secured to the upper surface of the outer sheet 30 by means of the hot melt adhesive.

In this step S2, the outer web 30, the indication sheet 12 and the first and second stretchable elastic members 14, 15 are compressed by a pair of nip rolls (not shown) and thereby the indication sheet 12 and the first and second stretchable elastic members 14, 15 are joined to the outer web 30.

Step S3: In this step S3, an under surface (i.e., an outer surface) of an inner web 34 continuously running in the MD is placed upon the upper surface of the outer web 30 and then these outer web 30 and the inner web 34 are joined together by means of the hot melt adhesive with the indication sheets 12 interposed therebetween.

In this step S3, a composite web 35 (i.e., a composite nonwoven fabric layer 2) is formed by the outer web 30 and the inner web 34. The indication sheets 12 and the inner web 34 are not joined.

The inner web 34 runs in the MD indicated by an arrow X2 at the same speed as the outer web 30. The inner web 34 is formed by the breathable hydrophobic fibrous nonwoven fabric layer m2 (i.e., the second fibrous nonwoven fabric layer).

In the step, the outer web 30 and the inner web 34 are compressed by a pair of nip rolls (not shown) and thereby joined together.

The adhesive may be applied also on the inner web 34 over its under surface in addition to the outer web 30 over its whole upper surface. In this case, the indication sheet 12 is joined to the outer web 30 as well as to the inner web 34.

Step S4: In this step S4, the composite web 35, the indication sheet 12 and the elastic members 15 are cut along a cutting line K1 extending in conformity with the imaginary line L and bisected in the CD.

In the step S4, the composite web 35 is divided into first and second composite webs 36, 37 and at the same time each pair of indicator elements 13 is divided into the individual indicator elements 13. Of the paired indicator elements 13 printed on the indication sheet 12, the one lies on the first composite web 36 and the other lies on the second composite web 37.

Step S5: In this step S5, the first and second composite webs 36, 37 are separated from each other by a predetermined dimension in the CD indicated by an arrow Y1 with a pair of halves bisected from the indication sheet 12 being aligned with each other in the CD.

Step S6: In this step S6, a plurality of the liquid-absorbent panels 3 are successively fed onto the respective upper surfaces of the first and second composite webs 36, 37. Thus the panels 3 are placed on the first and second composite webs 36, 37 so as to be spaced apart one from another in the MD by a predetermined dimension.

In the step S6, the under surface of the panel 3 is joined to the respective upper surfaces of the first and second composite webs 36, 37 by means of the hot melt adhesive (not shown) with transversely opposite margins 38 of the panel 3 lying on the associated indication sheet 12.

The panel 3 comprises the breathable hydrophilic fibrous nonwoven fabric layer m4, the breathable and liquid-impervious plastic film m5 and the liquid-absorbent core m6 interposed between them (See FIG. 2). The panel 3 is provided along its lateral margins 39 with the third stretchable elastic members 16 (leg elastic members) extending in the CD. These third stretchable elastic members 16 are secured in a stretched state to the panel 3.

In the panel 3, the under surface (i.e., outer surface) of the film m5 is joined to the respective upper surfaces of the first and second composite webs 36, 37. The adhesive is intermittently applied on the film m5 over a part of its under surface.

In the panel 3, the under surface (i.e., the inner surface) of the nonwoven fabric layer m4 is joined to the upper surface of the core m6 and the upper surface (inner surface) of the film m5 is joined to the under surface of the core m6 by means of the hot melt adhesive (not shown). The nonwoven fabric layer m4 and the film m5 are joined together along the longitudinally opposite margins 19, 21 and the transversely opposite lateral margins 20, 22 thereof. The third stretchable elastic members 16 are interposed between the nonwoven fabric layer m4 and the film m5 and secured thereto. The adhesive is intermittently applied on the nonwoven fabric layer m4 over its whole under surface as well as on the film m5 over its whole upper surface.

In the step S6, the composite webs 36, 37 and the panel 3 are compressed by a pair of nip rolls (now shown) and thereby joined together.

Step S7: In this step S7, the first and second composite webs 36, 37 and the opposite lateral margins 39 of the panel 3 are cut along the cutting lines K2, K3 between each pair of the adjacent panels 3. Between the composite webs 36, 37 spaced apart from each other, the composite webs 36, 37 are partially cut away and the opposite lateral margins 39 of the panel 3 are cut away along the cutting line K2 curving inward so as to describe circular arcs being convex toward the core m6 whereby cutouts destined to form peripheries of the leg-openings are obtained. At the same time, the composite webs 36, 37 are cut along the cutting line K3 rectilinearly extending in the CD. In this way, a plurality of the individual articles 1A arranged in the MD are obtained.

The article 1A obtained in this manner has a substantially hourglass-like planar shape to define, as viewed in the CD of the web 37, the front waist region 4, the rear waist region 6 and the crotch region 5 extending between these waist regions 4, 6.

After the composite webs 36, 37 have been cut and the transversely opposite lateral margins 39 of the respective panels 3 have been trimmed, the composite webs 36, 37 and the associated panel 3 are folded along the imaginary line L with the panel 3 inside and the front waist region 4 formed by the composite web 36 and the rear waist region 6 formed by the composite web 37 are placed upon each other. Then, these composite webs 36, 37 are joined together by means of the welding lines 9 to obtain the pull on-type article.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view showing another embodiment 1B of the article adopting the process according to this invention and FIG. 7 is a partially cutaway perspective view showing the embodiment 1B of the article of FIG. 6. In FIGS. 6 and 7, a waist-circumferential direction is indicated by an arrow X, a longitudinal direction is indicated by an arrow Y and a leg-circumferential direction is indicated by an arrow Z (only in FIG. 6). Expression “inner surfaces” of a film m7 and a nonwoven fabric layer m8 constituting a composite sheet 23 should be understood to be surfaces facing a core m6 and expression “outer surfaces” thereof should be understood to be surfaces facing away from the core m6.

The article 1B comprises a substantially liquid-impervious composite nonwoven fabric layer 2 (i.e., composite web), a liquid-impervious intermediate sheet 23 joined to the inner surface of the nonwoven fabric layer 2, and a liquid-absorbent panel 3 joined to the inner surfaces of the nonwoven fabric layer 2 and the sheet 23.

The article 1B is composed of front and rear waist regions 4, 6 opposed to each other, a crotch region 5 extending between these waist regions 4, 6, end flaps 7 extending in the waist-circumferential direction and side flaps 8 extending in the longitudinal direction and in the leg-circumferential direction.

The article 1B is of pull on-type having a waist-opening 10 and a pair of leg-openings 11. In the article 1B, the composite nonwoven fabric layer 2 lies in the front and rear waist regions 4, 6 and the intermediate sheet 23 lies in the crotch region 5.

A plurality of first stretchable elastic members 14 (i.e., waist elastic members) extending in the waist-circumferential direction are contractibly secured to the end flaps 7. A plurality of second stretchable elastic members 15 (i.e., leg elastic members) and a plurality of third stretchable elastic members 16 (i.e., leg elastic members) both extending in the leg-circumferential direction are contractibly secured to the side flaps 8.

The front and rear waist regions 4, 6 are provided in respective middle zones thereof as viewed in the waist-circumferential direction with the respective halves of an indication sheet 12 each having an illustration of a bear's face (indicator element 13) printed thereon. The indication sheet 12 is formed by a breathable and liquid-impervious plastic film m3.

The composite nonwoven fabric layer 2 comprises a breathable hydrophobic first fibrous nonwoven fabric layer m1 (i.e., outer web) and a breathable hydrophobic second fibrous nonwoven fabric layer m2 (i.e., inner web). An inner surface of the first fibrous nonwoven fabric layer m1 and an outer surface of the second fibrous nonwoven fabric layer m2 are joined together by means of a hot melt adhesive (not shown). The adhesive is intermittently applied on the first fibrous nonwoven fabric layer m1 over its whole inner surface.

The indication sheet 12 and the first and second stretchable elastic members 14, 15 are interposed between the first fibrous nonwoven fabric layer m1 and the second fibrous nonwoven fabric layer m2 and joined to the inner surface of the nonwoven fabric layer m1. The indication sheet 12 is thus not joined to the second fibrous nonwoven fabric layer m2.

The intermediate sheet 23 comprises a breathable liquid-impervious plastic film m7 and a breathable hydrophobic fibrous nonwoven fabric layer m8. The intermediate sheet 23 presents an hourglass-like planar shape and is smaller than the panel 3 and covers the under surface of the core m6 in the crotch region 5 (See FIG. 7).

The intermediate sheet 23 is joined to the inner surface of the nonwoven fabric layer m2 by means of the hot melt adhesive (not shown) intermittently applied on a part of the nonwoven fabric layer m8. The film m7 and the nonwoven fabric layer m8 are joined together by means of the hot melt adhesive (not shown). It is also possible to form the intermediate sheet 23 by one of the breathable liquid-impervious plastic film m7 and the breathable hydrophobic fibrous nonwoven fabric layer m8.

The panel 3 comprises a breathable hydrophilic fibrous nonwoven fabric layer m4 lying on the side facing the wearer's body and the liquid-absorbent core m6 joined to an inner surface of the nonwoven fabric layer m4. The nonwoven fabric layer m4 is slightly larger than an upper surface of the core m6 and covers this upper surface over its whole area. The nonwoven fabric layer m4 has longitudinally opposite margins 19 extending outward beyond longitudinally opposite ends 17 of the core m6 and transversely opposite lateral margins 20 extending outward from transversely opposite side edges 18 of the core m6. The third stretchable elastic members 16 are secured to those lateral margins 20 of the nonwoven fabric layer m4 by means of the hot melt adhesive (not shown).

In the panel 3, the longitudinally opposite margins 19 and the transversely opposite lateral margins 20 of the nonwoven fabric layer m4 in the front and rear waist regions 4, 6 are joined to the inner surface of the second fibrous nonwoven fabric layer m2 and the opposite lateral margins 20 of the nonwoven fabric layer m4 in the crotch region 5 are joined to the inner surface of the film m7 by means of the hot melt adhesive (not shown). An under surface of the core m6 is joined to the inner surface of the film m7 by means of the hot melt adhesive (not shown). The adhesive is intermittently applied on the nonwoven fabric layer m4 over its whole inner surface and on the film m7 over its whole inner and outer surfaces.

The end flaps 7 are defined by portions of the nonwoven fabric layers m1, m2, m4 extending outward beyond the longitudinally opposite ends 17 of the core m6. The side flaps 8 are defined by portions of the nonwoven fabric layers m1, m2, m4, m8 and the film m7 extending outward in the waist-circumferential direction beyond the transversely opposite side edges 18 of the core m6.

FIG. 8 is a perspective view schematically illustrating another embodiment of the process for placing the indicator element, FIG. 9 is a perspective view schematically illustrating the steps subsequent to the steps in the process illustrated in FIG. 8 and FIG. 10 is a perspective view schematically illustrating the steps subsequent to the steps in the process illustrated in FIG. 9. Referring to these Figures, a machine direction (MD) is indicated by an arrow X and a cross direction (CD) is indicated by an arrow Y. According to this process, the article 1B of FIG. 6 is made and the indicator element is formed in the front and rear waist regions 4, 6 of the article 1B through successive steps as will be described.

Step S1: In this step S1, a plurality of the indication sheets 12 each having a pair of the indicator elements 13 are successively fed onto an upper surface (i.e., inner surface) of an outer web 30 continuously running in the MD. The indication sheets 12 are placed on the upper surface of the outer web 30 so as to be spaced apart one from another by a predetermined dimension in the MD. The indicator elements 13 are a pair of illustrated bear's faces arranged side by side. These illustrated bear's faces are printed on the indication sheet 12 in mirror image relationship with each other.

The outer web 30 is formed by the breathable hydrophobic fibrous nonwoven fabric layer m1 (i.e., the first fibrous nonwoven fabric layer). The indication sheet 12 is formed by the breathable and liquid-impervious plastic film m3.

Step S2: In the step S2, the indication sheet 12 is joined to the upper surface of the outer web 30 with the individual indicator elements 13 placed on both sides of the imaginary line L. The indication sheet 12 is joined to the outer web 30 by means of the hot melt adhesive (not shown) intermittently applied on the outer web 30 over its whole upper surface.

In this step S2, a plurality of the first stretchable elastic members 14 (waist elastic members) continuously extending in the MD are secured in a stretched state to the upper surface of the outer web 30 while a plurality of the second stretchable elastic members 15 (leg elastic members) extending in the CD are secured in a stretched state to the upper surface of the outer web 30 (step S8).

Step S3: In this step S3, an under surface (i.e., an outer surface) of an inner web 34 continuously running in the MD is placed upon the upper surface of the outer webs 30 and then the outer web 30 is joined to the inner web 34.

In this step S3, the outer web 30 and the inner web 34 form together a composite web 35 (i.e., a composite nonwoven fabric layer 2). The indication sheets 12 and the inner web 34 are not joined. The inner web 34 is formed by the breathable hydrophobic fibrous nonwoven fabric layer m2 (i.e., the second fibrous nonwoven fabric layer).

Step S4: In this step S4, the composite web 35, the indication sheet 12 and the elastic members 15 are cut along a cutting line K1 extending in conformity with the imaginary line L and bisected in the CD.

In the step S4, the composite web 35 is divided into first and second composite webs 36, 37 and at the same time each pair of indicator elements 13 is divided into the individual indicator elements 13.

Step S5: In this step S5, the first and second composite webs 36, 37 are separated outward in the CD indicated by an arrow Y1 from each other by a given dimension with the halves of the respective indication sheets 12 being arranged side by side in the CD.

Step S6: In this step S6, a plurality of the intermediate sheets 23 are successively fed onto the respective upper surfaces (i.e., the inner surfaces) of the first and second composite webs 36, 37. Thus these intermediate sheets 23 are placed on these composite webs 36, 37 so as to be spaced apart one from another in the MD (step S9).

Each of the intermediate sheets 23 bridges the halves of the associated indication sheet 12 having been bisected and spaced apart from each other so as to overlay these halves of the indication sheet 12. The intermediate sheets 23 are placed on the respective upper surfaces of the composite webs 36, 37 so as to be spaced apart one from another in the MD by a predetermined dimension. Then the under surface of the intermediate sheet 23 is joined to the respective upper surfaces of these composite webs 36, 37 (step S10). The intermediate sheet 23 and the first and second composite webs 36, 37 are joined by means of the hot melt adhesive (not shown) intermittently applied on a part of a nonwoven fabric layer m8 which will be described later more in detail.

In this step S6, a plurality of the liquid-absorbent panels 3 are successively fed onto the respective upper surface of the intermediate sheets 23. Thus the transversely opposite margins 38 of panel 3 are placed on the indication sheets 12. Then, the under surface of the panel 3 is joined to the upper surface of the intermediate sheet 23 by means of the hot melt adhesive (not shown) (step S11). The transversely opposite margins 38 of the panel 3 are joined to the respective upper surfaces of the composite webs 36, 37 by means of the hot melt adhesive (not shown).

Each of the intermediate sheets 23 presents an hourglass-like planar shape and comprises the breathable liquid-impervious plastic film m7 and the breathable hydrophobic fibrous nonwoven fabric layer m8. The panel 3 comprises the breathable hydrophilic fibrous nonwoven fabric layer m4 and the liquid-absorbent core m6 underlying the nonwoven fabric layer m4 (See FIG. 7). The panel 3 is provided along its lateral margins 39 with the third stretchable elastic members 16 (leg elastic members) extending in the CD. These third stretchable elastic members 16 are secured in a stretched state to the panel 3.

In the panel 3, the under surface of the nonwoven fabric layer m4 is joined to the upper surface of the core m6 by means of the hot melt adhesive (not shown). The longitudinally opposite margins 19 and the transversely opposite lateral margins 20 of the nonwoven fabric layer m4 are joined to the respective upper surfaces of the first and second webs 36, 37 as well as to an upper surface of the film m7 by means of the hot melt adhesive (not shown). The under surface of the core m6 is joined to the upper surface of the film m7 by means of the hot melt adhesive (not shown). The adhesive is intermittently applied on the nonwoven fabric layer m4 over its whole under surface as well as on the film m7 over its whole upper and under surfaces.

It is possible to feed the intermediate sheets 23 onto the respective upper surfaces of the composite webs 36, 37 in the step S5 so that the sheets 23 may be spaced apart one from another by a given dimension in the MD or it is also possible to join the under surfaces of the intermediate sheets 23 to the respective upper surfaces of the composite webs 36, 37 in this step S5.

Step S7: In this step S7, the first and second composite webs 36, 37 and the opposite lateral margins 39 of the panel 3 are cut along the cutting lines K2, K3 extending in the CD between each pair of the adjacent panels 3.

Between these composite webs 36, 37 spaced apart from each other, the composite webs 36, 37 are partially cut away and the opposite lateral margins 39 of the panel 3 are cut away along the cutting line K2 curving inward so as to describe circular arcs being convex toward the core m6 whereby cutouts destined to form peripheries of the leg-openings are obtained. At the same time, the composite webs 36, 37 are cut along the cutting line K3 rectilinearly extending in the CD. In this way, a plurality of the individual articles 1B arranged in the MD are obtained.

The article 1B obtained in this manner has a substantially hourglass-like planar shape so as to define, as viewed in the CD, the front waist region 4, the rear waist region 6 and the crotch region 5 extending between these waist regions 4, 6.

After the composite webs 36, 37 and the transversely opposite lateral margins 39 have been cut, the assembly of the composite webs 36, 37 and the associated panel 3 is folded along the imaginary line L with the panel 3 inside and the front waist region 4 formed by the composite web 36 and the rear waist region 6 formed by the composite web 37 are placed upon each other. Then, these composite webs 36, 37 are joined together by means of the welding lines 9 to obtain the pull on-type article.

A stock material for the nonwoven fabric layers m1, m2, m4, m8 may be selected from the group consisting of products obtained by spun lace-, needle punch-, melt blown-, thermal bond-, spun bond-, chemical bond- and air through-processes. Component fibers for the nonwoven fabric layers may be selected from the group consisting of polyolefin-, polyester- and polyamide-based fibers and core-sheath type or side-by-side type conjugated fiber of polyethylene/polypropylene or polyethylene/polyester.

A stock material for the film layers m3, m5, m7 is preferably a polyolefin-based thermoplastic synthetic resin having a vapor-permeability in a range of 2150-4000 g/m224 hrs.

While it is not illustrated, the step S1 and the step S2 in the process for placement indicator elements may be carried out on an alternative manner in which a plurality of the indication sheets 12 each having a pair of the indicator elements 13 are successively fed under the inner web 34 continuously running in the MD and these indication sheets 12 are placed under the inner web 34 so as to be spaced apart one from another by a given dimension in the MD. In this case, the inner web 34 and the indication sheets 12 are joined together by means of the hot melt adhesive (not shown) intermittently applied on the inner web 34 over its whole under surface with the individual indicator elements 13 positioned on both sides of the imaginary line extending in MD and bisecting the inner web 34.

In the step S2, a plurality of the first stretchable elastic members 14 (waist elastic members) continuously extending in the MD may be secured in a stretched state to the under surface of the inner web 34 along the transversely opposite lateral margins and a plurality of the second stretchable elastic members 15 (leg elastic members) extending in the CD may be secured in a stretched state to the under surface of the inner web 34 (step S8). In this case, the first stretchable elastic members 14 lie outside the longitudinally opposite margins 31 of the indication sheet 12 and the second stretchable elastic members 15 lie outside the transversely opposite lateral margins 32 of the indication sheet 12. The first and second stretchable elastic members 14, 15 are secured to the under surface of the inner web 34 by means of the hot melt adhesive. For the embodiment in which the indication sheets 12 and the first and second stretchable elastic members 14, 15 are joined to the inner web 34, the upper surface (i.e., inner surface) of the outer web 30 continuously running in the MD is placed under the inner web 34 and then these outer and inner webs 30, 34 are joined to each other (step S3).

This invention is applicable not only to the pull on-type disposable wearing article 1A, 1B having its front and rear waist regions 4, 6 previously connected to each other but also to so-called an open-type disposable wearing article having its front and rear waist regions adapted to be connected to each other immediately before its actual use.

The process according to this invention for placing the indicator element has advantageous effects that the indication sheet having a pair of indicator elements is bisected and thereby the paired indicator elements are divided into the individual indicator elements so that the halves of the indication sheet thus bisected are spaced apart from each other by a given dimension and thereby the indicator elements can be placed on the surface of the article facing away from the wearer's body at once in the front and rear waist regions. This process makes it unnecessary to use means as well as steps for separately joining the individual indicator elements to the front and rear waist regions and correspondingly reduces the manufacturing cost of the article.

According to this process, each pair of the indicator elements printed on the indication sheet are in the mirror image relationship with each other and therefore there is no possibility that one of these indicator elements respectively placed on the front and rear waist regions might be placed upside down with respect to the other indicator element.

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US9050220Jul 16, 2012Jun 9, 2015The Procter & Gamble CompanyColor printed laminated structure, absorbent article comprising the same and process for manufacturing the same
US9168732 *Dec 21, 2011Oct 27, 2015Sca Hygiene Products AbMethod for imparting different visually detectable features to a plurality of items, and a package comprising items each having a different visually detectable feature
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US20060254708 *Aug 4, 2004Nov 16, 2006Zuiko CorporationDisposable wearing article
US20100193111 *Apr 12, 2010Aug 5, 2010Zuiko CorporationDisposable wearing article
US20150000541 *Dec 21, 2011Jan 1, 2015Sca Hygiene Products AbMethod for imparting different visually detectable features to a plurality of items, and a package comprising items each having a different visually detectable feature
CN102883696A *Jul 8, 2011Jan 16, 2013株式会社瑞光Disposable diaper and manufacturing method thereof
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Classifications
U.S. Classification156/259, 156/299, 156/301, 156/302, 156/160, 156/226, 156/64, 156/270, 156/227, 156/265, 156/300
International ClassificationA61F13/514, A61F13/15, A61F13/49, A61F5/44, A61F13/42
Cooperative ClassificationA61F2013/15243, Y10T156/1095, A61F13/15723, Y10T156/1097, A61F13/496, Y10T156/1093, A61F2013/49063, Y10T156/1067, Y10T156/1077, Y10T156/1049, Y10T156/1092, A61F2013/8497, A61F13/15756, Y10T156/1051, A61F13/15804, Y10T156/1085, A61F13/15699
European ClassificationA61F13/496, A61F13/15M5, A61F13/15M10, A61F13/15M7, A61F13/15M6B
Legal Events
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Owner name: UNI-CHARM CORPORATION, JAPAN
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Effective date: 20040206
Jun 20, 2008FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 4
Jun 6, 2012FPAYFee payment
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Jun 23, 2016FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 12